Category Archives: Psychology/Psychotherapy Article Review

The Science of Magic…. and it Involves Attention

“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”
“Frequently.”
“How often?”
“Well, some hundreds of times.”
“Then how many are there?”
“How many? I don’t know.”
“Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.”
from ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1891

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In this TEDx talk, psychologist Gustav Kuhn takes us through the science of magic. As a magician himself he has the advantage of having two perspectives on this subject. The analogy between magic and research studies where subjects are distracted from the aim of the study is an interesting point.

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Keeping a New Year’s Resolution

Many people make new year’s resolutions at the start of the year. The new year begins with January which is named after the Roman God Janus. Janus is represented with two faces – one looking into the future and the other looking into the past. The ancient Romans treated the start of the year as a time to look ahead and would behave on the first day of the year as they intended to for the rest of the year. While there are many common themes for resolutions many people expect their enthusiasm and commitment to fade over time. There are a number of research findings which can guide people in keeping their new year’s resolutions.

Psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud and Adrian Furnham look at implementation intentions and mental contrasting.

Psychologist Professor Wray Herbert wrote an interesting review of a study looking at the effect of using different phrases to guide intentions

Psychologist Jeremy Dean looks at #10 approaches to keeping new year’s resolutions including repetition and replacement strategies.

In this article, neuroscientist Johan Lehrer looks at the factors affecting willpower including distraction and training.

The American Psychological Association has an interesting article on wanting what you want to want (see review here)

Educational psychologist Kendra Cherry gives a brief overview of the subject with links to further introductory resources.

With lots of approaches, there is no guarantee that resolutions can be maintained but there are many ways of trying.

An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Was Carl Jung Influenced by Hegel?

A Short Video Biography of Hegel

A Short Video Biography of Carl Jung

Carl Jung was a Swish Psychiatrist who studied Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic techniques and subsequently developed his own school of Analytic Psychology. Jung found his inspiration in many diverse areas. However some of the concepts Jung espoused echoed those proposed in a simpler form by Hegel. I have provided a short video biography of Carl Jung and Georg Hegel which the interested reader can use as a starting point for further exploration of this area. To understand Hegel and Jung we need to delve back a little further in history.

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who lived in the eighteenth century. One of his most important works was ‘A Critique of Pure Reason‘. Essentially he challenged the benefits of using reasoning alone and instead championed the use of reasoning and experience together – synthetic reasoning. A counter movement against Kant’s ideas emerged – the school of German Idealism. In his works Kant had suggested that ‘unsolvable contradictions’ occurred in several specific areas. Hegel extended this concept by suggesting that contradictions occurred in all ideas. Hegel wrote about other important concepts such as the importance of historical reality and others in consciousness.

Hegel’s concept of speculation in the form of the dialectical describes the process in which the concrete or absolute must pass through a negative phase. Some people have interpreted this to mean that negative and positive elements are considered in the journey to the synthesis of the absolute (This is not quite the same as thesis + antithesis = synthesis which is considered to be a summary of work by other philosophers including Kant although there is similarity).

Turning to Jung, one obvious correlation is the concept of the shadow. Jung suggested that a person is the sum of their conscious selves and an unconsciousness which included the shadow. Through the process of individuation, through their life a person would learn to integrate these two parts – to become whole.

Jung’s concept of the Shadow

However there are other similarities. Jung and Hegel both concerned themselves with an exploration of what they considered the spirit. Perhaps Jung was the psychological manifestation of the school of German Idealism – a reaction against Kant’s ‘A Critique of Pure Reason’ over a century beforehand.

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

A Short Video on Carl Jung’s Concept of the Shadow

I’ve just uploaded a short video on Jung’s concept of the shadow on YouTube.

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Optical House Illusion Seen in Transit

Peter Duimelaar has filmed a very interesting structure in Sydney, Australia. The structure consists of painted walls which when viewed in a passing car appear as a 3D house. Towards the end of the video the house ‘flips’!

An index of the site can be found here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Is Dementia Risk Related to Computer Use in Older Adults?

Diagram from Almeida OP, Yeap BB, Alfonso H, Hankey GJ, Flicker L, et al. (2012) Older Men Who Use Computers Have Lower Risk of Dementia. PLoS ONE 7(8):

e44239. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044239 (Creative Commons Attribution License)

An interesting Australian study published in PLOS One recently by Almeida and colleagues suggests that computer use is associated with a reduced incidence of Dementia. However this is not the same as saying that computer use reduces the risk of Dementia. That would imply causality. This study establishes a relationship and the authors draw caution in their conclusions.

So what were the key points of the study?

  • 5506 older adult men (age 69 to 87 years) were followed-up in the community
  • Mean age was 75.5 years
  • They were followed up for 8.5 years
  • The primary outcome was the incidence of Dementia (using ICD-10 diagnostic criteria)
  • If diagnoses were made before 1996, ICD-9 was used
  • Computer use was self-assessed – a simple question about computer use was asked
  • The prevalence of computer users decreased with increasing age
  • High school completers were more likely to use computers than non-high school completers
  • Computer users were more active socially
  • Computer users were less likely to show depressive symptoms
  • 6.3% of men received a diagnosis of Dementia
  • The Hazards Ratio for Dementia for computer users compared to non users was 0.49 (95% Confidence Interval 0.38-0.64)
  • The results were unchanged after adjusting for high school attainment and other possible confounders
  • More frequent self-reported computer use was associated with reduced incidence of Dementia

The researchers have recruited a large number of subjects in their study and followed them up for a lengthy period. The study does not establish causality but these results are extremely interesting and an investigation of causality would be a natural follow-up to this study. There is other research that suggests that computer use is associated with improved social networks in keeping with these study results. Computer use can also be cognitively stimulating although this does not necessarily follow. Thus there may be many associations of computer use that have a protective effect. Education is a natural confounder to consider but the researchers adjusted for high school attainment. We also don’t know how long subjects had been using computers for.

The study raises interesting questions with the potential to inform lifestyle choices although further research is needed before firmer conclusions can be drawn.

An index of the TAWOP site can be found here and here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.

Introductory Videos on Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a relatively recent form of talking therapy (psychotherapy) which focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviours and has become very popular. NHS Choices has produced two introductory videos on CBT.

Professor David Clark from King’s College Hospital, London provides an overview of CBT in this video

In this video, Carol talks about the benefits that CBT brought after she lost her husband.

In America Dr Aldo Pucci is President of the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapists and in this video he discusses a way of thinking about emotions which is rooted in CBT.

An index of the TAWOP site can be found here and here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.